We are not even through the round-robin of the world women’s curling championship and already history has been made.
For the first time since joining the World Curling Federation in 1994, South Korea is off to a 6-0 start following a 7-4 win over Italy on Tuesday night at CN Centre.
The key shot of the game came in the eighth, where skip Eun-Jung Kim completed a hit for three, putting the game out of reach.
All five Korean curlers who entered the game curled 82% or higher. Vice-skip Kyoeng-Ae Kim was near-flawless at a 99% efficiency rating badly outplaying Italy’s third Marta Lo Deserto who curled at just 72%.
Korea curls out of a major curling centre in the coastal city of Gangneung – the site of the 2009 women’s championship and the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Despite the hot start, Kim isn’t looking past any opponents on the schedule.
“For now, we are focusing on just one game at a time and adjusting to the ice.”
“There are two main reasons for our success. One is that we have been a team for a very long time and our other experiences at these championships and the Olympics have really helped us perform at this championship.”
The Kim rink has a proven track record in big moments. At the winter games in Pyeongchang, they collected a silver medal, losing to Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg.
At last month’s Olympic Games in Beijing, they fell just shy of the podium recording a fourth-place finish.
Similar to China and Japan, the sport has seen rapid growth in Korea since the mid-’90s.
“I started curling after an arena was built along the countryside where I live. Regarding curling in Korea in general, literally, nobody knew what the sport was but these days a lot of people have a better understanding of the game and now understand the strategy. That has definitely changed over the years,” added Kim.
Among all thirds in the tournament, Kim ranks second (88.0) trailing only Sara McManus of Sweden who is at a 91%.
In addition, Seon Yeong Kim is atop the pack among all leads in the women’s worlds curling at 91% – two points ahead of Swedish star Sofia Mabergs.
Speaking of Sweden, they improved to 6-1 after an 8-4 win over Japan. Hasselborg clocked in at 95% outplaying fellow skipper Ikue Kitzawa who was 72%.
After starting 4-0, the Japanese have faltered losing three straight – in the afternoon draw, they fell 10-4 to Canada’s Kerri Einarson (4-2).
Canada’s only game today (Wednesday) is at 9 a.m. against Sweden.
Canada is in a three-way tie for fourth with the United States and Denmark who are also at 4-2.
(The Canadian team will get a forfeit win tonight against Scotland, who has returned home, due to COVID-19)
Lastly, Norway (3-4) got back on the winning track after a 10-5 victory against winless Turkey (0-6).
Norwegian second Millie Haslev Nordbye was the top player curling at 89%.
This morning’s draw consists of three other games including:
- Switzerland vs Czech Republic
- United States vs Turkey
- Korea vs Denmark
The top six teams make the playoffs.
Qualification games go Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with the semi-finals Saturday night at 7:00.
Medal games hit the ice Sunday at 11:00 a.m. (for bronze) and 4:00 p.m. (for gold).
The full standings can be found here.
The full schedule and results are right here.
– with files from Darin Bain